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The antique art of handwriting is worth preserving
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Recently, my wife and I visited a couple of antique stores. We were just browsing.

Antique stores are really museums of times gone by. One of those signs of getting older is that items that were new and exciting when I was a child now have been relegated to the shelves of an antique store.

There were lots of little Coca-Cola bottles, the green ones with raised glass letters. I can remember drinking one and then holding the bottle skyward to see what town was embossed on the bottom.

In most antique stores, they fetch about $6. They used to bring 3 cents for returning the empty bottles.

There are things like phonograph records, 8-track tapes, rotary dial telephones and all sorts of advertisements for brands that don’t exist anymore.

If antique stores still exist 20 years from now, I wonder what they will have in their vast inventory. Will we find today’s smartphones that have been replaced by something newer and better?

The antique store of today has a one-side toaster that was not automatic. Perhaps our microwave ovens will be replaced by some new technology that cooks food even faster.

One thing that may be there is the pencil and pen. For some reason, we are giving much attention to handwriting anymore.

When I take my time and remember the lessons of years ago, I can write fairly well. Unfortunately, I usually don’t take my time and the writing looks like an unknown language that needs interpretation.

We are fast becoming a society of people who not only cannot write, but also cannot spell. On the social media site, Facebook, I often see people giving misspelled good wishes to their friends by telling them “Congradulations.”

I also enjoy the many people who don’t know the difference between their, they’re and there. So many people can’t distinguish that the state capital is Atlanta and the state Capitol is a building with a gold dome.

But it’s that writing thing that scares me the most. When they still used chalkboards, our teacher had a gizmo that held three pieces of chalk. She would line the chalkboard to reflect our lined tablets and we would copy our writing assignment.

There are research facilities where they have taught monkeys how to make little sentences like “Monkey want banana.” t is done with little icons on a screen. That’s not much different from a smartphone that tries to complete your words in a message.

The charm of a written note cannot be replaced by a text message. A co-worker of mine brings his lunch and his wife occasionally writes a little note on his napkin. That’s kind of sweet. He still uses the napkin for its intended purpose, but the message of affection is conveyed.

And don’t confuse the pre-printed words of a greeting card as a substitute for a personally crafted message. All the prose that a commercial card company can muster doesn’t hold a candle to words that are heartfelt.

This is the part where people start all that nonsense about not being a writer.

It doesn’t take much to say, “I love you,” “I miss you” or “I sure would like to see you again.”

They may not always be the easiest words to say, but writing them could make someone’s heart flutter.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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